Windows To Go on USB 3.0 controllers

Some days ago we decided to test Windows To Go. After installing Windows 8.1 on a Sandisk Extreme USB 3.0 64 GB key we incurred into a problem. The system booted correctly on the USB 2.0 port but did not start on the USB 3.0 port. We got a blue screen with an error about “INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE”.

The problem seems to be related to our Fresco USB 3.0 controller, which is not new and it is not recognized by default by MS Windows. We booted with the USB 2.0 port and installed the needed drivers, but that has not solved our problem. The USB port was working correctly when Windows was running but seemed to cause problems during the boot process.

We discovered that modifying some registry keys it is possible to start Windows correctly. The procedure is outlined here:

  • boot via the USB2.0 port
  • go to the “Device Manager” and find the USB3 driver, then “Drivers -> Driver Details”, there you will find the correct “.sys” file driver
  • open regedit and go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services and search for the filename found in the driver details
  • Edit the “Start” key and set it to DWORD:0x00000000, so that the driver will be loaded during the first boot phase

More information about driver options can be found at:

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/ff546326%28v=vs.85%29.aspx